The GW women’s basketball team, which had a below-average win-loss record compared to the standard of recent seasons, still had a successful 1997-1998 campaign that ended with the eighth straight 20-win season for head coach Joe McKeown’s team.
The Colonial women, who finished the year at 20-10, were the regular season champions in the Atlantic 10 for the fifth straight season, and they also competed in their fifth straight NCAA Tournament. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of GW’s roller coaster season:
11/28/97 – After shooting just 25 percent from the floor in the first half, the Colonial women lit up the scoreboard for 53 points in the second half to earn a 78-73 victory against a quality UCLA squad in Los Angeles, Calif. Four players scored in double figures, led by 22 and 14 points from Elisa Aguilar and Noelia Gomez.
1/12/98 – Elisa Aguilar exploded for 37 points in a 82-74 GW win at Duquesne, which was undefeated in conference play before the game. The sophomore guard hit nine of her 16 shots from the field and made 16 of her 18 free throw attempts in the highest scoring output by a Colonial woman since 1993. Aguilar outdueled perennial All-American Korie Hlede, who scored 29 in the game.
3/13/98 – Trailing by as many as seven points in the first half, the Colonial women came back with a strong second-half performance to defeat seventh-seeded Lady Bulldogs 74-72 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Storrs, Conn. GW was led by 31 points from Elisa Aguilar. For the 10th-seeded Colonial women, it was their seventh victory in seven first-round NCAA games.
12/3/97 – American University’s Keri Gaskins made a 10-foot jump shot with seven seconds remaining to lift the Eagles to a 71-69 victory at the Smith Center. GW led 48-37 with 16:36 remaining before an 11-2 American run closed the gap to just two points midway through the second half. The loss, coupled with an earlier loss to North Carolina State University, marked the first time the Colonial women lost consecutive home games since the 1990-’91 season.
3/1/98 – With GW trailing 66-64 to Virginia Tech in the A-10 semifinals at Amherst, Mass., Noelia Gomez was whistled for an illegal screen as Elisa Aguilar drained a three-pointer that would have given GW a one-point lead with 1:31 remaining. Instead, Virginia Tech guard Amy Wetzel went to the other end of the floor and sank two free throws to give the Lady Hokies a four-point lead on their way to 73-72 victory, their third over GW in the 1997-98 season.